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Compass sensors

HMC5843 - I think this one might be the best, if somebody knows how to do surface mount. It does 3-axis magnetometry which should avoid the requirement that the chip be parallel to the plane of the earth (I think it also uses an accelerometer in this process). Communicates via I2C. $20 at digikey.

Lots of information about it here (looks like no accelerometer). That it needs a resistor and two capacitors might bring the real final the price up.

Glitzo demo video:

The one Skory has is the Hitachi HM55B. $30 at Parallax Big pro: already mounted. Big con: only 2-axis. Medium con (maybe): not I2C, but, the code to read it with an Arduino is straight-forward and already exists.

Mar 16 2009 by Lamont Lucas: I ordered the Honeywell HMC1052L breakout board and sensor from sparkfun. (with board, $15, just the leadless 14 pin QFN package chip is $9). It should be in my hot little hands by thursday so I hope to have it working by sunday. It's a neat two-axis sensor, and the output is two analog voltages for

Mar 16 2009 by Mikolaj Habryn: That looks like an ideal choice - might well be pin compatible with existing breakout boards from sparkfun for the 2-axis ones, too. Soldering LCCs might be a problem, though - simple SMD isn't too bad, but with these, there's no way to inspect the joints. I guess we can try it and see - I think I've tried to do one of these with a hot air

Possible DIP format 3-axis option from sparkfun ($59):

nice write up on using it with arduino / processing at NYU ITP:

not so nice forum post at sparkfun:



Temperature (IR)



Electric field strength



Heart Rate

Electro-Magnetic waves (light, radio (RFID), etc)



Concentration of Fluids (gases, liquids)

Echolocation / Distancing / Lidar


Found several distance sensors, which are one or two sonar transducers on a bit of chip with logic attached. The logic does various things but most will produce an analog voltage corresponding to the distance sensed.

Parallax PING))) -- I don't like this much, it seems very inaccurate past about 3 feet. OTOH it was the first I worked with and I should probably reevaluate it later when I have more experience.

Maxbotics MAXSonar EZn - where n is 0 - 5 or so, a family of sensors with different characteristics. They all have the same behavior, though, basically they'll produce analog OR serial output. In analog mode they can be daisy-chained. These are the smallest ones I've found so far, consisting of only the one transceiver which does both ping and listen. For this reason they can't read closer than 6 inches.

* datasheet 
* someone else's code

Devantech SRF0n - where n is 1 - 10. I only just found this but it SAYS it has a 3 meter range. And the family claim up to 6m for some of them. There's also a SRF235 which uses 235kHz whereas the rest use 40kHz. One of the family can be daisy-chained; the expensive one I expect.

* useful discussion of the family
* tech specs
* low price vendor

VEX Ultrasonic Rangefinder - VEX seems to be a robot system. Part is not cheaper so prolly not worth investigating deconstructing it.


Strain Gauges


Radiation (geiger counter)

Polarized Light

Ambient Network Data

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